Tuesday, October 13, 2015

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Victoria Selvaggio

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an Associate Agent with over 6 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

In addition to being an agent, she's also the author of BECAUSE I'M AFRAID and THE HOPE CHEST. She was most recently published in the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market.

Twitter: Victoria Selvaggio @vselvaggio1
Facebook: Vicki Selvaggio
Linkedin: Victoria Selvaggio

And now Victoria Selvaggio faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

While this is hard to answer as I’m constantly falling in love with one book after another, I’ll share books from my childhood. These stories remain vivid in my memory as if I’ve read them yesterday...they’ve encouraged me and set me on my own writing path.

THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein – As a child I loved this story. As an adult and parent, I understand it completely. I have yet to read it without having a sense of empathy and compassion wash over me—this story brings me to tears.

A SUMMER TO DIE by Lois Lowry—Having an older sister, this story opened my eyes on how quickly life can change. I did (and still do) argue with my sister…and yes back then, I wanted to draw my own line many times. But, no line would ever stop my sister from being my sister. Back then and now, I am truly blessed!

DOLORES CLAIBORNE by Stephen King—Stephen King influenced my path as an author…He encouraged me to find my own voice—to continue pushing until I reached my own goals and beyond. I’ve read almost everything he’s penned (that’s in print). THE TALISMAN, PET SEMATARY, CUJO, CHRISTINE, IT…I could go on. While I absolutely CAN’T pick a favorite, I’ve listed DOLORES CLAIBORNE—it is the perfect example to show how a story can work without (or limited) dialogue. It shows that mastering the art of writing is a skill and if perfected correctly, regardless how one portrays a story, a reader will fall in love! 

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

Another hard question, as I don’t have a lot of spare time (I do a lot of recording)!

For television:

I love watching THE WALKING DEAD and I’m starting to find FEAR THE WALKING DEAD compelling.
MAJOR CRIMES—I enjoy the mystery, humor, and wonderful cast of actors.
BATES MOTEL—I want “poor” Norman to be normal. The writers have done such a good job making you feel compassion for him when he’s murdering people left and right.

For Movies:

KING KONG—I know, I know…this is an oldie. But, I’m still so fascinated with this idea.
THE SIXTH SENSE—Another oldie, but right up my alley.
THE HUNGER GAMES—The scene where Katniss volunteers in Prim’s place—that’s what I look for in a manuscript—Captivating emotion.

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?  

My dream client:

·         -Hard-working
·         -Intelligent and knowledgeable about the publishing process
·         -A good understanding of business and the market
·         -Respectful
·         -Patient
·         -Realistic
·         -Sets goals and reaches them
·         -Great communicator and open to sharing thoughts/feelings, especially if we disagree
·         -And finally, has researched me—feels there’s something that will “click” when we talk for the very first time, regardless if it’s those first couple of e-mails, or my telephone call offering representation. Connection is key and not just with the story. I want to build lasting relationships with my clients, and I want my clients to feel the same way!

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?  

For any genre—a story that will remain with me forever. As with my listed books for question #1, the genre doesn’t matter—the story and how I feel about it days, months, and years later is what’s most important.

I’m all about the journey, the experience—captivate me, educate me, inspire me! 

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

We are all destined for the “right” path. Becoming an agent was mine! After several years as Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, and becoming a published author myself, I found myself limited on what I could do to help writers and illustrators reach their goals. I was able to provide tools (education, motivation, inspiration), but building careers was out of reach, so I strived to make it reachable.
For me, I love, love, LOVE, working one-on-one with my clients!

While all jobs have their disadvantages, I can’t seem to find many as an agent. I love going to work every day. It’s as simple as that!

Regarding my response time…I will note this as my least favorite thing about my job. Due to the overwhelming e-mails and queries I receive, and as my protocol (as an author knowing what it’s like to be on the waiting side), I respond personally to each one. Unfortunately, this takes time. 

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

As with all professions, becoming a published author and/or illustrator takes education, dedication, and confidence. We all have imaginations and the ability to create, but learning how to hone this craft and bring life to words and/or illustrations, is only reachable for those who are willing to persevere!

As with all professions, one should expect rejections, obstacles/challenges, and possibly, when the timing is right, success!

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Those who know me personally could answer this easily-- Stephen King, of course!
I find his path to publication fascinating.

I find his published works to be more than enjoyment for reading. For me, they’re instruments/tools—I’ve learned so much on mastering voice, playing with a manuscript’s structure, and even pushing those standard writing rules a tad.

His publications encouraged me to write about the sweet and innocent, while weaving in the crazy and unimaginable. They helped me push my own limits as a writer--learning to not hold back, writing about my deepest fears, while sharing those things that show my vulnerability.

And mostly, they encouraged me to be me--to write what I need to write!

While many of us will never know how we influence another’s life, I would love to properly thank Stephen King some day.

1 comment:

  1. I found the information in this interview to be very helpful in understanding what Agent Selvaggio is looking for in her clients. Thanks for sharing - Shawn D. Brink, author


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